With Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month coming at a time where there’s been such a swell in racism against people of Asian descent, it’s important that we level up our commitment for showing up for the AAPI community in real life, not just on social media.
Here are 3 ways to support the AAPI community through intentional, effective allyship:
1. Be an UPSTANDER, not a bystander.
Keeping silent keeps things the same. So whether you’re in the office or in a Zoom, stand up to colleagues, friends, or relatives who make racist jokes or bigoted comments. Asking them a simple question like, “What do you mean by that?” can be an impactful way to hold people accountable. And it shows the bystanders that they don’t have to feel intimidated in these situations either.
Sometimes this means correcting people about how they speak about the AAPI community. When Alisa’s coworker recently made a comment about the “oriental people” who worked with them, she simply said, “Actually, oriental is not a word we use to describe people. Oriental is an outdated term used to describe things originated from East Asia.” Her saying that brought understanding and changed behavior. And that’s the point.
2. If you posted about it, then BE about it!
The hashtag #StopAAPIHate grew out of the Stop AAPI Hate initiatives led by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department. #StopAAPIHate, #StopAsianHate, and #HateIsAVirus are also a part of this incredible social movement now, helping to highlight resources for the AAPI community and their anti-racist allies.
HOWEVER, simply using those hashtags and reposting content is not authentic allyship, and it’s definitely not activism. Supporting what you post about could mean educating yourself on the history of the AAPI experience in America. Or you could start reaching out to your state lawmakers concerning legislation that affects Asian American communities, like creating better systems for collecting hate-crime data.
3. Support organizations that are working everyday to suffocate anti-Asian hate.
There are groups that are continuing to provide resources for improving the quality of life for AAPI individuals. The Strategist recently shared a great resource where they listed 68 national organizations that support Asian communities. Get access to that here: 68 Ways to Donate in Support of Asian Communities
Also, please support the AAPI community in your city by shopping at Asian owned food and retail stores. Although many small businesses and independent restaurants struggled over this past year, none were hit harder than that of Asian owned restaurants and retailers. The pandemic brought one blow, but bigotry brought another.
Our AAPl colleagues and friends deserve allyship that is intentional, effective, and perpetual. Let’s do our part to give them just that.